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Unsatisifed with "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per dead civilian, Pakistanis demand action

Could the U.S., who perennial accuses its enemies of war crimes soon face those accusations itself before the UN?  That possibility appears increasingly likely following a landmark Pakistani court ruling.

I. Embattled UAV Death Strike Program is Condemned by Court

In the name of fighting terrorism the U.S. has been carrying out a silent war of drone strikes in Pakistan, Qatar, and other Middle Eastern states, order death-strikes on what it say are "terrorists".  But recently released numbers reveal the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) warfare program, largely controlled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, has a very low succes rate in terms of killing high-profile militants, while having large levels of civilian collateral damage with some strikes killing women and children.

In response four petitions by tribal leaders complaining that U.S. drone strikes were killing civilians, Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and the junior judge on Pakistan two-judge Peshawar High Court panel decided that the drone were war crimes as they killed innocent civilians.

The panel says that the drone strikes were inhumane and violated the UN Charter on Human Rights.  The court is asking the government of Pakistan to push a UN resolution to condemn the strikes and declare them a war crimes, writing [according to translation by The Press Trust of India, "The government of Pakistan must ensure that no drone strike takes place in the future.  If the US vetoes the resolution, then the country should think about breaking diplomatic ties with the US."
Drone Killing
Pakistanis aren't satisifed with the U.S.'s "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per dead civilian.  [Image Source: Reuters]
Shahzad Akbar, lawyer for victims in the case, is quoted as saying, "This is a landmark judgment. Drone victims in Waziristan will now get some justice after a long wait. This judgment will also prove to be a test for the new government: if drone strikes continue and the government fails to act, it will run the risk of contempt of court."

II. Shift in Pakistani Leadership May Give War Crimes Allegations New Life

So far the Pakistani government, which relies on the U.S. for billions in aid payoffs has been hesitant to declare the U.S. guilty of war crimes.  The U.S. federal government gave $17B USD [source] in 2009 to the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Pakistan.  Of these nations, Egypt has seen its government overthrown since on allegations of corruption, while Afghanistan has struggled under the weight of similar allegations of sweeping bribery and corruption.  And Pakistan has beenimplicated in sheltering Osama bin Laden, the world's most famous terrorist.

But some foreign observers say regardles of special interests the Pakistani government should not tolerate the civilian deaths.  Comments Clive Stafford Smith of the London-based human rights watchdog group Reprieve, "Today's momentous decision by the Peshawar High Court shines the first rays of accountability onto the CIA's secret drone war."

Some in the U.S. and Britain argue that the strikes are doing little to combat terrorism, and in fact are pushing locals towards terrorism.

In August 2012, a drone strike in Ye
men killed a 40-year-old moderate cleric Salem bin Ahmed bin Ali Jaber just two days after he delivered a speech denouncing al-Qaeda.  The irony is that the al-Qaeda officers who were targeted in the strike, reportedly came into town to threaten Mr. Jaber for his support of the U.S. and pacifistic leanings.

Predator missile
Some feel the President shouldn't have the power to order the warrantless killings of Americans on U.S. soil. [Image Source: Drone Wars UK]

To be fair, U.S. President Obama has claimed a similar authority to kill American "terrorists" without warrant on U.S. soil (although his adminstration tried to cover up that policy).  The administration also does have a policy of paying the family of civilians it kills in the Middle East "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per body.

While the current administration may be hesistant to take action in the UN against the U.S. elections are fast approaching.  This Saturday's election sees the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party leading in current polls.  Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the party's leader, promises a zero-tolerance policy on drone strike civilian deaths.  He comments, "Drone attacks are against the national sovereignty and a challenge for the country's autonomy and independence."

The U.S. has often accused hostile regimes like the governments of Syria, Sudan, Iran, and North Korea of war crimes in recent years.  However, it has seldom been on the receiving end of such accusations, despite an aggressive (and expensive) overseas military program.

Source: The Independent

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RE: What?
By seraphim1982 on 5/13/2013 12:04:13 PM , Rating: 2
We are trying to stop it, and yes, almost always each side loses innocent lives in war. That's what wars are unfortunately.

Firstly, it IS NOT war, if you think you it is, the MASS MEDIA complex has truly done its job to convince the avg joe the US is at war.

The number of innocents kill in 9/11 is a so small compared to the number of innocents killed in Irag, Afghanistan, and Pakistan combined.

So 9/11 was unfortunate? Is that what you are saying, because it sure sounds like it. What is the value of human life, whether it is a middle-eastern person or an average person from the US???

We are trying to stop it??
LOL what horse sh}t is that? Blowing up more civilians just creates MORE MATYRS for these terrorists and gives them more of a grassroot anti-US mentality.

RE: What?
By Motoman on 5/13/2013 12:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
Welcome to asymmetrical warfare.

The enemy lives in shadows, amongst the innocent as a means of using them as human shields. There's no real way to directly engage that enemy in any traditional manner.

The enemy isn't a country, or a "people" per se. It's a highly scattered pack of rats that live in our own houses.

So if you're such a military genius that you've figured out how to engage an asymmetrical enemy without any collateral damage, we're all ears. Go on...become the next Sun Tzu.

RE: What?
By mcnabney on 5/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: What?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/13/2013 12:21:56 PM , Rating: 3
They are just whining because the President is a black Democrat.

LMAO you people still think the race card is cool to use. Wow! That is sooo 2008.

RE: What?
By mcnabney on 5/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: What?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/13/2013 3:46:28 PM , Rating: 5
You're a jackass.

I've supported nearly every African America Republican candidate that I can recall in my lifetime. I've also watched as the "enlightened" Democrat party did everything they could to destroy said candidates, by the way.

To boil down any objections to this President as merely racism is the signs of a small mind. You're an immature little troll and your words shall not intimidate me or weaken my resolve.

Obama is a moderate through and through.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! Oh my god...

RE: What?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/13/2013 12:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
The number of innocents kill in 9/11 is a so small compared to the number of innocents killed in Irag, Afghanistan, and Pakistan combined.

And the number of innocents killed in 9/11 would be far more today if we didn't take action when we did.

Even then, there's still been thousands of successful terrorists attacks. Just image if all the ones we thwarted would have happened too. Or do you also not acknowledge there HAVE been successes?

I think you're heart is in the right place, but don't fool yourself into thinking all we're doing is killing innocent people.

Firstly, it IS NOT war

Obviously not in the tradition sense, because we're not declaring war against a nation state with an organized army and clearly marked logistics/headquarters.

Call it whatever you want, but we're in it.

RE: What?
By croc on 5/13/2013 7:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
Please enlighten us, just how many attacks since Sept. 11 2001 have been thwarted by the US three-letter organizations. You will, I am sure, also be so kind as to provide specifics, like 'on such-'n-such date so-'n-so agency intercepted some terrorist group trying to...'

RE: What?
By tayb on 5/13/2013 12:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
Firstly, it IS NOT war, if you think you it is, the MASS MEDIA complex has truly done its job to convince the avg joe the US is at war.

It seems it is you that has been taken by the mass media claiming that combat in foreign sovereign nations is not war. This is likely so you'll believe that this combat is constitutional when in reality it is not. By any definition of the word, we are at war.

A state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state.

War is an organised and often prolonged conflict that is carried out by states and/or non-state actors. It is characterised by extreme violence, social disruption, and economic destruction.[
1. a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.
2. a state or period of armed hostility or active military operations

(1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations
(2) : a period of such armed conflict

a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state

RE: What?
By theapparition on 5/13/2013 2:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
Dictionary quotes aren't going to prove your point.

We are at war though. The war against terrorism was passed by Congress on September 14th, 2001. This makes it legal to use our military forces in combat against "terrorism".

Additionally, the nations where we are operating armed forces have agreed to let us do so. Now, I won't argue whether those agreements were coerced or forced, but legally, the US has every right to be where they are.

Even the Iraq invasion had legal grounds, since the Iraq government never complied with the sanctions required since the first action.

RE: What?
By M'n'M on 5/13/2013 2:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
Let's also not forget the AUMF:
Section 2 - Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

If you ask the average joe, "Is the US at war ?", and exclude Afghanistan and Iraq, he's probably going to say no. So I don't get the whole *mass media* angle on this point.

And let's not be confused, Pakistan, whatever red meat is tossed to their media, has been in support of the "drone war" since Day1.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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